Everyone’s heard the saying, “If you got it, a truck brought it”. At some point in manufacturing goods everything travels by truck before it gets to us. Trucks carry everything from cars to carrots, toys to toilet paper, and now even personal protective equipment and vital vaccines.
Trucking is not an easy job; but it has its rewards. Like seeing parts of the country you never expected to get to. The life of a truck driver comes with numerous responsibilities. And number one is to always practice safe driving habits which include not driving aggressively or with distractions.
More than Driving
The women and men who drive heavy vehicles are charged with the duty of inspecting their trucks at the start and end of each and every day, making sure the unit is roadworthy. It entails a thorough walk around of the truck and trailer to check for anything less than standard. It must be performed even in bad weather.
Inspection covers fluid levels and hoses under the hood, condition of wheels and tires, the air brake systems, windshield wipers, mirrors and lights, doors and windows, instruments and anything else that can be seen by the driver. If even a light is not working the truck goes nowhere until it’s repaired.
A driver is required to secure the load and to scale his or her loaded truck for axle and gross weights and adjust axle weights as necessary. This is accomplished by sliding the tractor’s fifth wheel or shifting the trailer’s tandem axles or both to get proper axle weights.
Many drivers are expected to travel 120,000+ miles per year which leaves little time for being home with loved ones and can strain relationships. Life can be even more difficult for long haul drivers who reach home less often and can’t stay long as duty calls.
Most drivers are paid by miles driven so short trips pay less than long ones. Unless you get on with a fleet that guarantees a minimum miles paid, you may find it difficult to manage your cash flow when you never run the same number of miles each day or week.
Often Unpaid Detention
Truck drivers must deal with detention times when waiting to load or unload their freight. They face delays due to traffic congestion, detours, bad weather, bad directions, breakdowns and other unforeseen circumstances. Yet they are expected to deliver goods as quickly as possible.
And then there’s the paperwork. To comply with hours of service regulations a driver must either keep a hand written paper logbook or use an electric logging device (ELD) to record the duty status of our drive time, on duty not driving, any breaks, and sleep time. Drivers must also manage load bills and any receipts. Without these no one gets paid.
Drivers must also know how to navigate to avoid getting lost and possibly missing a scheduled loading or unloading appointment. They must know the range of their vehicle to plan fuel stops and sleep stops where safe parking in North America for large tractor trailers is in painfully short supply.
Going to Bat for Us
Despite all their responsibilities these men and women willingly work hard for long hours to ensure the rest of us have everything we need. In the days of a pandemic they continue to risk their lives daily for us. As a result respect for truckers is growing.
No other shipping method can deliver freight as quickly as trucks and their drivers. Every trip is a new adventure with ever changing scenery and circumstances. Waking from the sleeper to a bright sunny day makes a driver feel alive with renewed spirit, ready to take on the day again despite its issues.
Other Other Essential Workers
Truck drivers need to know they can depend on their vehicle. They must have good equipment. Maintenance and repair shop technicians are essential for keeping the fleet in top operating condition. Their knowledge and hard work over long hours keeps the fleet moving and able to produce revenue while helping to avoid out of service violations.
Together shop techs and truckers are driving economies the world over. At BrightOrder Inc. we recognize this because we’ve been working with fleets and techs for more than two decades. We provide shop management solutions for fleets and repair shops.
FleetSquared is our shop management system built for small fleet shops and independents. Sign up with your email for a free 30 day trial to see how much it can simplify and streamline maintenance and repairs.